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The U.S. Supreme Court

The United States have two parallel court systems at the state and federal levels. Both federal and state courts are organized into three levels. These include the lower courts, the appellate courts and the courts of last resort, also called the supreme courts.

The U.S. Supreme court is at the top of the hierarchy of the federal and states courts. It is the highest court in the land. It is known as the court of last resort, because there is no appeal beyond it in any case or any controversies that may arise in the interpretation of the constitution.

The U.S. Supreme court can also take appeals from the courts of last resort of the states, especially on the Constitution (Champion, Hartley & Rabe, 2012). Therefore, the decision of the Supreme Court sets the precedent and is the binding authority on every federal and state court. This subjects all the lower courts in the country to the rulings based on stare decisis(to stand by the precedent)if they are to hear any case on issues that the Supreme Court had ruled on (Champion et al, 2012).

Cases may reach the Supreme courts by either original jurisdiction or a writ of certiorari. It is commonly issued by a higher court to review the decisions taken by the lower courts. The U.S. Supreme Court may order the lower courts to transfer the records for a case it will hear on appeal (Champion et al, 2012). However for this to happen, four of the nine justices in the Supreme Court must agree that there was a flaw in rulings or constitutional misinterpretations, known as the Rule of Four (Champion et al, 2012). The case between Marbury and Madison (1803) established the U.S. Supreme Court review powers. In this case, the Chief Justice issued a writ of mandamus compelling the Secretary of State to issue the commissions authorized by ex-president John Adams.

In conclusion, being the highest authority on all questions pertaining to law and that there is no appeal beyond the U.S. Supreme Court; it is the court of the last resort. 

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